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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

154                                  FLORA IN&ICA.                    [Myristicacea.
Testa carnosa, tunica interior dura, fragilis. Albumen ruminatum, se-
baceum. JSmSryo prope hilum minutus, cotyledqnibus divaricatis plants
vel unduktis, radicula infera.—Arborea (retry* firutices) tropica sape
&txtftasplu8 minus aromatica, suceo acndo stepiita rubicundo scafentes,
foISs aUerni* integerrimi* disticJiis paraHeli-nerviis, Qunwribu* saltern}
peUu<ddo-punctatis> floribus inconspicuis *$$e minimis^ in axillis glome-
ratis vel paniculatis.
This small Order is well 'known, from it* containing the tree which yields the
Nutmeg cf commerce; and most of the species possess similar aromatic qualities,
though occasionally these are very faint, and in some instances confined to the arillus
(in the officinal nutmeg called Mace), or to the fleshy part of the fruit. Several spe-
cies are said to be employed in India to adulterate' the true nutmeg, and in America
one or more yield when fresh a tolerable substitute for that valuable spice, though
their aromatic qualities are unfortunately not permanent. We follow Endlicher in
bringing this Order into contact with Anonacea, to which it appears in most respects
closely allied. The habit, alternate dotted leaves, valvate aestivation, extrorse an-
thers, apocarpous ovaries, ruminated albumen, and minute embryo, are (he chief
points of resemblance. The youn$ leaves of nutmegs are in vernation quiiŁ like
the leaves of Mitrephora, and an anllus is sometimes present in Anon&ee&> in which
Order the flowers are also occasionally unisexual. On this last character so much
stress is laid by Lindley, that he removes Myristicea (associated with Menis$erme&
and Lardizalialets) to a considerable distance from the Ranal alliance, althongh he
folly recognizes their relationship to Anonacea, and transfers Byalostemma from
that Order to this, on a mistaken supposition that it is apetalous; in order appa-
rently not to invalidate this mark of distinction. We do not overlook the important
points of affinity which exist between Myristicacea and Monimiacea and Athero-
qperme&t which Orders 3re also included by Lindley in his group Menispermales.
These are certainly entitled to great weight, especially that of the apocarpous,fruit,
which removes those Orders far ftom.lawfa&Hy. The opposite leaves, however,
distinguish them from all the Banal alliance except Clematide#,
MyrMcacea differ remarkably from Anonacea in the great development of the
arillus., The hilum is generally large and quite basal, and the arillus springing from
its margin envelopes the whole of the seed. The arillus has, at the same time, an
organic connection with the tissues around the micropyle, and in the common, nut*
meg it is perforated opposite that aperture by a small slit, which is usually quite
exterior to the cicatrix of the hilum; hence the arillus of the nutmeg has' been
regarded by,Planchon as an arillode, and its connection with the hilum is supposed
by that author to be spurious. The vascular tissue of the arillus might be expected
to throw light upon the origin of that body; but we find it to rise all round the
basal eicatrix, which includes not only the hilum, but an areola around the micro-
pyle, to which the arillus is firmly attached. The examination of the folly-formed
arillns, therefore, leads us to infer that it is developed at once from the hilum and
the margin of (he micropyle; but this must remain doubtful till the development of
the ovule and Its nucleus has been carefully studied. The arillus is generally fleshy,
but sometimes thin and very membranous; and although usually divided towards the
apex into long linear lobes, which in the cultivated nutmeg and some other specie*
are very deep, in a part of the Order it is quite entire, and scarcely perceptibly per-
forated at the apex. Towards the base it contains a good deal of vascular tissue, the
vessels being spirally marked, but not unreliable. The cellular tissue is dense, and
in each cell there is an opaque yellowish mass, which nearly fi& it, and which is
probably the seat of the aroma. The seed has three coats, j of these, the outer or
testa is fleshy (as in Magnoliacea), *ud very thin pn the sides; but thicktih at the base
and apex. It is traversed on one side by a rhaphe, formed of numerous vascular
cords passing from the'hilum to the chalaza, where it divides into many branches,
which ramify to a great extent over the inner surface of the testa. The chalaza is